State Watch

Maine paid for dozens of rooms for governor, staffers at Trump luxury hotel: report

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Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and his staff racked up more than $20,000 in costs in 2017 and 2018 staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Portland Press Herald reported Sunday.

The news outlet obtained receipts that showed taxpayers covered roughly $170,000 in out-of-state travel for the governor and his staff during those two years. Of those costs, $22,000 went toward stays at the Trump family’s hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Press Herald reported that the state was reimbursed for $124 of that amount.

{mosads}The documents reportedly showed that LePage’s administration spent hundreds of dollars on more than 40 rooms during trips to meet with President Trump, attend White House meetings or speak with members of Congress. Receipts also showed the governor purchased expensive menu items at the hotel, like filet mignon.

LePage served two terms as governor, and left office earlier this year.

Sunday’s report is likely to prompt renewed criticism from government ethics watchdogs who have long alleged that Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by using the presidency to enrich his family’s business empire.

A Richmond, Va.-based federal court of appeals has set aside dates in March to hear arguments in Trump’s appeal of an emoluments lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The Emoluments Clause prohibits elected officials from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments without congressional approval.

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